"A wonderful book, brimming with humor and spirituality. The characters are lovingly drawn and Byk provides her readers with a day-by-day recounting of how her life intersects with the indefatigable Mister B, whose memory seems almost photographic even at the age of 98! The book is enlivened by photographs from early-to-middle twentieth century America. A very worthwhile multi-generational read." -Jan Kalickion
The instructive and comedic Mister B is the Pinnacle Achievement Award recipient for Best Memoir, 2016. When a chauffeur-cook on the verge of financial ruin decides to help a 98-year-old rocket scientist by moving into his home with him, he decides to teach her a few life lessons. Together, each discovers why they still matter. If you like Jimmy Stewart in No Highway in the Sky, (Nevil Shute) or The Millionaire Next Door, Hidden Figures, you will love Mister B.
"...Byk fully constructs Mr. B, from the Rhode Island coastal awe in his voice to his penchant for mustard on peeled egg. In these small, perfectly executed moments, Byk brings her fascinating family to life for readers with warm and genuinely funny wit..." - KIRKUS
Born in 1916, to a Polish-speaking mother, Joseph Byk began his early schooling in rope-tied-baggy-pants-poverty. He was every teachers’ dreaded student. Ending his senior year at Woonsocket High, Rhode Island, however, he aspired to design vehicles that defy gravity. He moved to Baltimore, MD, consulting for NASA, and transferred into the D.O.D. in Littleton, CO with Martin Marietta. Joseph Byk stress tested reconnaissance planes and helped to design structural aspects of the space shuttle Gemini, the first moon landing gear, and the beginnings of Google Earth
What the story of Hidden Figures is to three brilliant NASA women, the story of Mister B is to another national hero, a forgotten stress engineer whose calculations and outspoken opinions saved many lives. Being politically correct is not Mister B's style, although all Greatest Generation story lovers, Cold War, and World War II hounds, and family members caring for aging parents, think Mister B is a national treasure.
For curiosity seekers of aerospace and structural science, how did it all start? Armchair philosophers and would-be scientists will appreciate Mister B’s wry interactions with his in-laws who move into his home after the death of his wife. The ol’ man decides to teach these younger caretakers a thing or two: specifically that, his newest design is to live forever. A triangle forms as they study and tentatively approach one another.
The ol’ man and his new companions gradually redesign a dry acre into a flowering conversation piece where mushroom collecting and the sources of hydrogen and iron are discussed. Interior design must take a back seat while the scientific engineer challenges them to consider theories of deflection, accuracy, stress variables, and material strengths. With all the delicacy of designing a conical intersection onto a space capsule, the threesome focuses on integrating their relationships in 3-D.
Joseph Byk's bygone family ideals confront the independence of a younger generation as he reveals a lifetime of secrets. Mister B's family gains more than a conversationalist. They gain a friend.
Mister B rolls through controversies of old age in a humor appealing to a variety of book clubs and social circles. It inspires us to learn from history, to give a little more to family relationships, and to seek scientific answers to life’s little perplexities.